International School Awards 2024: 3 weeks left to apply!
Here at ISC Research, we were keen to learn about how previous winners of the International School Awards have continued to develop their initiatives. We’ve been fortunate enough to speak with some winners who are willing to share insights into what happened next for their school. With just 3 weeks to go until applications close for the 2024 International School Awards, let’s talk about how winning the prestigious award can impact your school.
First things first, some changes have been made ahead of the 2024 International School Awards, which you can read more about here, however we firmly believe these changes will lead to more opportunities for international schools of different contexts to celebrate their initiatives. For this reason, despite the awards no longer consisting of isolated categories, these insights from previous winners are as pertinent as ever and we hope will inspire you to take the first step towards filling in an application!
Strengthening the school’s reputation
Many of the schools we’ve spoken to have positively shared how winning the award has enhanced the school’s reputation, in turn helping with recruitment, admissions, alongside generally boosting support around the whole school and amongst all stakeholders.
Marlborough College Malaysia won the strategic leadership award at the 2022 International School Awards for implementing a whole-school wellbeing initiative for students and staff. Due to raising the profile of the school, winning the award has helped with the recruitment of students and staff according to the school’s Deputy Head Pastoral, Magnus Cowie. He informs us that their wellbeing provision continues to develop to the whole-school community, and an increase in networking post- award has aided the school to recently host a Wellbeing conference in partnership with COBIS and Komodo.
We also spoke with Jadis Blurton, Head of School at The Harbour School (THS). THS won the Teaching and Learning Award at the 2022 International School Awards for its marine science initiative to integrate marine science resources into all elements of its curriculum. Jadis, like Magnus, highlighted how winning the award boosted the school’s reputation and “solidified our role as one of Asia’s top schools”. The school’s sense of pride continues to grow and as does the initiative! “Having developed a good Marine Science Programme internally to the school and being able to confirm our ‘credentials’ through the ISA award, we are launching a more city-wide Naturalist programme that will include THS and other organisations.”
Feel pride in your school
The International School of Zug and Luzern (ISZL) in Switzerland was awarded with the Environment Award, the International Impact Award, and was recognised as the International School of the Year at the 2022 International School Awards. Joanna Cull, Communications Manager at ISZL, shared how winning an International School Award has “fostered an increased sense of pride in our school”, in turn leading to a “more supportive climate around the classrooms.” A boost in the school’s reputation has helped recruitment, interviewing architects, incoming families, and more.
We spoke with Cecilia Liang, Director of Communications at Dulwich College Beijing (DCB), who won the Pathways to Continued and University Education Award at the 2022 International School Awards. Their initiative focused on enriching the career pathways of all their students. Cecilia discussed how the award has positively influenced the DCB’s brand recognition and confidence within the community. “Winning the prestigious award gives every community member a moment to pause, reflect and celebrate, as well as reinforcing our educational ethos to the whole community.” She shared how the initiative itself benefitted from winning the award, as the community has a greater understanding of school’s educational philosophies. “Such understanding not only supports the short-term goals, but more importantly it benefits our student learning, because staff, parents and other community members are more aligned in how we partner to support our students.”
Student voice and learner agency is a growing conversation around the world today. DCB’s initiative is heavily student-oriented and student-led, but Cecilia shared that the bolstered sense of pride amongst students has motivated them to “continuously challenge themselves to think outside of the box, take leadership, get proactively involved, and strive for excellence.” This is what it’s all about!
Strive for excellence within your school
Elfyn Jones, Director of Design and Innovation at Nord Anglia International School Dubai (NAS Dubai), and Daniel O’Hara, STEAM Coordinator at NAS Dubai, said that winning the Innovation and Creativity in Learning 2022 Award filled the school with “immense pride and motivation to continue striving for excellence.” Not only has it strengthened the school’s reputation, but it has also strengthened the school’s relationship with the wider international school community who have praised the school for the implementation of their DICE curriculum. They have also sought advice on how to implement a similar programme to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute to a sustainable future. Recognising the value of incorporating the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the core of the curriculum is something that is especially pertinent with the changes made to next year’s International school Awards.
They shared how winning the award has “created numerous opportunities for students and staff to showcase their creativity, problem-solving abilities, and innovation.” As a testament to the award’s impact, Elfyn announced how their new building, opening in September of this year, “boasts an innovation hub and an open-ended core environment that will encourage students to showcase their best talents.”
Our thanks go to all these schools for sharing some inspirational insights into their journey of winning an International School Award.
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Don’t forget, the International School Awards 2024 are still open for nominations. The closing date for this year’s applications is Friday 7th July. All details about the categories, criteria and applications are available here. To learn about good practice from all shortlisted schools, you can follow the International School Awards on LinkedIn